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Seventeen year-old Marissa Hamilton (left) and her friend Mary Healy sprint during a timed one-mile run during fitness training at Wellspring Academy October 21, 2009 in Reedley, California. Struggling with her weight, 17-year-old Marissa Hamilton enrolled at the Wellspring Academy, a special school that helps teens and college level students lose weight along with academic courses. When Marissa first started her semester at Wellspring she weighed in at 340 pounds and has since dropped over 40 pounds of weight in the first two months of the program. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children in the U.S. ages 6-19 years are overweight or obese, three times the amount since 1980.

CDC Awards Over $11M to Fight Chronic Diseases in Indian Country


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced 22 new grant awards in the amount of $11.3 million to reduce chronic diseases and promote health and wellness in Indian country. These awards, financed by the Affordable Care Act, are part of a coordinated initiative in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending.

The tribal health program, A Comprehensive Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country, aims to prevent heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and associated risk factors in American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages through a holistic approach to population health and wellness. Awardees will use effective community-chosen and culturally adapted public health interventions to

Reduce commercial tobacco use and exposure.

Improve nutrition and physical activity.

Increase support for breastfeeding.

Increase health literacy.

Strengthen team-based care and links between community resources and clinical services.

Half of the awards will support tribes directly, and the other half will support tribal organizations to provide leadership, technical assistance, training, and resources to tribes and villages in their Indian Health Service Administrative Areas.

Compared with the general U.S. population, with some regional exceptions, American Indian and Alaskan Native people have higher rates of tobacco use, obesity, and physical inactivity and lower consumption of fruits and vegetables—important risk factors for chronic diseases.

“The suffering and costs of chronic diseases throughout Indian country are growing,” said Ursula E. Bauer, PhD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. “These new grants will provide tribes and villages with the resources, tools, training, and know-how they need to help prevent chronic diseases and improve the health and well-being of their people for today and future generations.”

Other new programs announced by CDC will complement and reinforce the tribal health initiative.  

State and Local Public Health Actions to Prevent Obesity, Diabetes, and Heart Disease intensifies work in state and large city health departments to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke and reduce health disparities through community and health system interventions. It is financed by the Affordable Care Act.

Partnerships to Improve Community Health supports multi-sector public health strategies to reduce tobacco use and exposure, improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and improve access to chronic disease prevention, risk reduction, and management opportunities. Projects will serve large cities and urban counties, small cities and counties, and American Indian tribes.

Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) supports strategies in racial and ethnic communities to improve health and reduce health disparities. It is financed in part by the Affordable Care Act.

National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention supports national organizations to help smaller communities and those with limited public health capacity to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and improve access to programs for preventing and managing chronic diseases.

Programs to Reduce Obesity in High-Obesity Areas funds land grant universities located in states with counties that have more than 40 percent prevalence of adult obesity. Universities will work through existing cooperative extension and outreach services in those counties to improve residents’ access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities, reduce obesity, and prevent and control diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and they account for more than 80 percent of the $2.7 trillion our nation spends annually on medical care.

The 22 new tribal health program awardees are:

Alaska, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium—$1,096,303

Arizona, InterTribal Council of Arizona, Inc.— $850,000

Arizona, San Carlos Apache Tribal Council—$189,263

California, California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc.—$788,972

California, United Indian Health Services, Inc.—$650,000

Idaho, Nez Perce Tribe—$200,000

Kansas, Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas—$194,876

Michigan, Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians—$325,000

Montana, Fort Peck Community College—$317,039

Montana, Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council—$648,124

Nebraska, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska—$178,493

New Mexico, Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Inc.—$850,000

New Mexico, Santa Ana, Pueblo—$120,651

Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board—$850,000

Oregon, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board—$850,000

Oregon, Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center—$199,159

South Carolina, Catawba Indian Nation—$199,804

South Dakota, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board—$650,000

South Dakota, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe—$200,000

Tennessee, United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.— $849,998

Wisconsin, Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc.— $850,000

Wisconsin, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians—$200,000


For more information about CDC’s new programs to advance chronic disease prevention and health promotion, and for state-by-state lists of all new funding awards, visit CDC.gov.

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